Professor Chinedu Suggests Investment in Biotechnology, Others to Secure Africa’s Future
A Professor of Biochemistry at Covenant, Professor Shalom Chinedu, has advocated that innovative technologies and techniques in the fields of life sciences, notably, modern biotechnology, constitute the emerging pathways which Africans should engage to secure Africa’s future.
He gave this suggestion on Friday, March 1, 2019, while delivering the 18th Inaugural Lecture of the University titled, ‘From Evolution to Revolution: Biochemical Disruptions and Emerging Pathways for Securing Africa’s Future’.
Professor Chinedu, who described the issues facing Africa as multifaceted, with some life-threatening, said that hunger and famine appeared to be the worst issues confronting the continent. Many African nations, he stated, relied on food aid from industrialised nations to combat starvation, therefore, Africa's priority must be to feed her people. “Biotechnology provides an ideal solution to hunger because of its potential to improve agriculture and boost food supply,” the Inaugural Lecturer added.
While propounding “suitable technologies and manpower development” as two key imperatives for empowering Africa economically, Professor Chinedu gave a number of recommendations as instruments for Africa's technological and socioeconomic transformation, and sustainable development. These included maximal and continuous investment in Science, Technology and Innovation to meet the continent’s developmental targets and improve the lot of her people; more emphasis on process and product development, with African researchers striving to move their discoveries from the laboratory to the market; and the promotion of biotechnological research and product development.
The inaugural lecturer, in other recommendations, encouraged collaboration between big biotech companies and African researchers on one hand and negotiations between Governments of African nations and that of the industrialised nations, which could lead to a win-win partnership in the exploitation of Africa's rich bio-resources. He posited that Africa needed persons with requisite skills and competence in the area of biotechnology to drive biological revolution in Africa. He also called for strict regulation of biotechnological research/product development, modernization of agriculture to make it attractive to young people, and addressing the challenges of nomadic African tribes and environmental degradation.
Professor Chinedu, who is the Director, African Leadership Development Centre, Covenant, averred that innovative technologies and techniques in the fields of life sciences had brought the world into a new era of genetically engineered products and processes with mind-blowing possibilities and tremendous benefits in the area of agriculture, medicine, industry and the environment. He added that this era of biochemical disruptions, aptly described as biological revolution, had the potential to trigger an unprecedented turnaround for Africa and place her on the path of economic recovery and sustainable development.